Earlier this month the city council in Memphis, Tennessee, voted to rename Forrest Park, a local site named in honor of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Since Forrest's death in 1877, few names associated with the American Civil War have sparked more outrage among black Americans.

In contrast, white views of Forrest have long been mixed. "To many," wrote historian Court Carney, "he was the quintessential Confederate hero, whose rough-hewn, unschooled martial style reflected the virtues of the southern "plain folk"; others, in contrast, found him an ambiguous figure at best."